You may be asking yourself ‘why do pre-registration nurses need clinical supervision, don’t they learn all they have to learn at university?!’ Well classrooms may teach one to care but textbooks are not the real thing are they? The classroom bits of nursing will aide these nurses when it comes to practice – undoubtedly how can you practice without theory? On the other hand the complexity of generating and applying that knowledge into real life situations may only be understood through experiential practice As a consequence this is where the importance of clinical supervision comes in.
Nursing is devoting ones working days caring for people not just physically but in all aspects of health, mentally, socially, spiritually and emotionally; thus holistically. Whilst carrying out these noble duties we also take care of our student (pre-registration) nurses. This role is called the role of a clinical supervisor or mentor which requires qualified and experienced professionals to pass on to our under graduates a wide range of worthwhile experiences and the culture they will eventually work in.
These experiences will be the basis of the main aim and philosophy of clinical supervising; to facilitate and shape the development of yet to be graduate nurses. Clinical supervision is the process that will help and support these students to learn and assist in the development of their practice liaising through participation and discussion with experienced and knowledgeable staff and colleagues while on their placements. Furthermore, the clinical supervisor or the mentor as well known by our modern generation is there to facilitate that process of learning to understand, develop meaning and prioritise in diverse situations. The consistent feedback that these undergraduates will have from the supervisors during their placements will mould and smooth their progress in advancing professionally and personally. The end result wished for will be nurses that care, are reliable and knowledgeable doers who will provide excellent and competent care to all they encounter during their practice years – possibly yourself included!? Thus the necessity of pre-registered nurses being aware of the fact that your needs as a patient will always be a priority in their ways of practice.
Providing competent and safe care has been a discussed widely in the media and unfortunately not too positively. This controversial issue is worldwide and covers the many facets of nursing such as our education, practice and the nursing management we provide.
Clinical supervision has been recognised by nursing professional bodies (the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the Royal College of Nursing) as a supportive way to facilitate learning from experience. It is through the benefit of clinical supervising that opportunities come along and will purposely teach these students during their placements to reflect on their clinical experience and therefore hands on learning. Through, reflective practice students can learn from experience and improve their competence. Furthermore through clinical supervision students learn to reflect and identify their needs of professional development in issues involving the clinical area they are exposed to. Thinking back on a clinical experience provides understanding and conveys further improvement in the clinical area just like you would in your everyday life.
However, as experienced nurses and mentors we can observe and perceive that nowadays our students are full of theoretical knowledge but lack practical performance. Therefore clinical supervision and reflection will improve nursing practice which will enhance nurse- patient interaction. Studies have shown that hands on experience in the real setting along with the help of the professionals (clinical supervisors) they encounter are determinant factors in their pre-registration phase. Then again, hands on practice also enables the performer to understand his/her performance and thus bring about an awareness of what they need/wish to learn. The clinical environment demonstrates the reality of what nursing duties entail and provides a whole picture of what the patients necessitate.
Locally the nursing course is based on general nursing care and not on specific hospital areas of work or specialities. Nonetheless, all mentees during their course follow the majority of the skills that are common in all hospital environments. At the moment, the Faculty of Health Science which is responsible for both under graduates and graduated health care students/staff as well as introduced courses specifically for speciality areas and mentorship courses for qualified nurses. The mentorship course is aimed to provide registered nurses who are mentoring with the skills and methods required to not only facilitate and assess students but also to critically and analytically assess one’s own mentoring methods. As mentors for pre-registered nurses we are responsible pre-registered nurses to transpire into competent, practical, understanding, theoretical, knowledgeable, safe and efficient enough to provide the best care to you in your health care needs.
Clinical supervision is both necessary and beneficial. It can be beneficial to individual practitioners and professional groups by enhancing one’s practice and promoting accountability. One can say that when students are practicing in their clinical setting, they are being supervised at all times. So, patients you may put your minds at rest – you will not being treated as “guinea pigs”! Far from it, for as professionals, nursing mentors are fully aware that students are not allowed to learn or practice utilizing the trial and error procedure. Trail and error can act in both ways, looking at it from one side of the coin one can say that one does learn, but on the other side of the coin one may also cause harm and that’s the reason d’etre why we do not allow trial and error methods. So put your minds at rest, when you see a student approaching you! Students are only allowed to undertake tasks for which they have been prepared for.
The role of the clinical nurse supervisor moreover incorporates a moral responsibility to support, understand and teach the supervisee’s how to serve as the patients’ advocate. Mentors are accountable for both the safety of patients and clients and for facilitating the development of student competence. Safety is not only referring to you as patients or clients, but also to the fact thatour students need to be aware and be responsible for other staff members. However, mentees require being responsible for their attitudes and behaviours. They must be trained to respect others’ ideas, values and beliefs and we as mentors are duty bound to help them provide the dignity that you deserve.
The importance of having students supervised is not only because clinical supervision is precisely designed to serve as a peer-educative function but also because students do need to discuss and reflect on the patients’ care in a safe and supportive environment. The possibility to discuss various issues in relation to real life situation patients’ care will serve as opportunity to develop consistent approaches towards individual patients and their families.
To conclude, clinical supervision students may well demonstrate active support towards each other as professional colleagues through sharing and understanding and which in due course they will also realise that they are ‘not alone’ in their feelings and perceptions, consequently providing themselves with reassurance and rationale. The overall result will be improved quality of care – your care. With the help of clinical supervisors, students are able to make excellent use of their time in the clinical setting and therefore learn more through various teaching strategies. Students are our future nurses and we should bear in mind that the way they are trained will affect all of us in our future!